Biology

Difference between enzymes and inorganic catalysts

Main difference

The main difference between enzymes and inorganic catalysts is that enzymes are globular proteins, while inorganic catalysts are small molecules or mineral ions …

Enzymes versus inorganic catalysts

Enzymes are known as biological catalysts that participate in the acceleration of chemical reactions in the living system. Inorganic catalysts, on the other hand, are small molecules that operate in the physical or non-living world. Enzymes are nature’s proteins. In contrast, as the name implies, inorganic catalysts are inorganic in nature.

The substance on which both enzymes and inorganic catalysts are called a substrate. Enzyme molecules are quite large when compared to the size of substrate molecules. Inorganic catalysts, on the other hand, are considered to have a small difference between the size of the molecules of the substrate and the catalyst. Enzymes generally show a high molecular weight, while inorganic catalysts have a relatively very low molecular weight.

Enzymes are considered effective catalysts but in a suitable range of temperatures, which are present in living beings. At low temperatures (10 ° C and below), enzymes are inactivated and, at high temperatures (50 ° C and above), they are denatured. Inorganic catalysts, on the other hand, are not sensitive to small changes in temperature. They are generally considered to operate at high temperatures.

Comparative chart

Enzymes Inorganic catalysts
Globular proteins are called enzymes. Small molecules or mineral ions are called inorganic catalysts.
Size
Enzymes are complex macromolecules and also have a three-dimensional structure. Inorganic catalysts have small molecules.
Comparison with the substrate
The size of the enzyme is quite large compared to the size of the substrate molecules. The difference between the size of the inorganic catalyst and the substrate molecules is very small.
Regulation
The specific type of molecules is responsible for the regulation of enzymes. None of the regulatory molecules can regulate inorganic catalysts.
Reaction acceleration
Enzymes can accelerate a defined reaction of a substrate. Inorganic catalysts can accelerate a diverse reaction.
Synthesis
Ribosomes present in living cells are responsible for the synthesis of enzymes. Living cells have no role in the synthesis of inorganic catalysts.
Temperature
Enzymes are more sensitive to temperature. Inorganic catalysts are responsible for showing behavior less sensitive to temperature.
pH
Enzymes show more pH sensitive behavior. Inorganic catalysts are less sensitive to pH.
Pressure
Enzymes carry out their activity at normal pressure. Inorganic catalysts are considered to operate under high pressure.
Efficiency
Enzymes are very efficient. Inorganic catalysts are less effective.
Molecular weight
The enzymes show a high molecular weight. Inorganic catalysts have a low molecular weight.
Protein poisons
Many chemicals poison enzymes and are called protein poisons. Inorganic catalysts are not adversely affected by protein poisons.
Shorter wavelength rays
Enzymes are denatured by the shorter wavelength rays. Short wave radiation does not show much influence on inorganic catalysts.
Use
They mediate biochemical reactions and originate in the biological world. Inorganic catalysts operate in the physical or non-living world.
What are enzymes ?

Enzymes are macromolecules, which are protein in nature, and their study is known as enzymology. The origin of enzymes is in the biological world. Most enzymes are proteins, but some of them are catalytic RNA molecules. The latter is also known as ribozymes. Some enzymes are also used commercially, for example in the synthesis of antibiotics.

To speed up chemical reactions, some household products use enzymes: they break down starch, protein, or grease stains on clothes in biological powdered detergents, and the enzymes in meat tenderizer are involved in the breakdown of proteins. into smaller molecules and make meat easier to chew.

What are inorganic catalysts ?

Inorganic catalysts are called small molecules or mineral ions. They are small molecules and are used to accelerate the various reactions. They have a low molecular weight and are less efficient. The functioning of inorganic catalysts is not controlled by regulatory molecules. Short wave radiation does not show much influence on inorganic catalysts. They are not adversely affected by protein poisons. They operate in the physical world or they do not live.

Key differences

  1. Globular proteins are called enzymes, while small molecules or mineral ions are called inorganic catalysts.
  2. Enzymes are called complex macromolecules that comprise a three-dimensional structure, whereas inorganic catalysts are considered to have small molecules.
  3. The size of the enzyme is quite large compared to the size of the substrate molecules; on the other hand, the difference between the size of the inorganic catalyst and the substrate molecules is very small.
  4. Enzymes can accelerate a defined reaction of a substrate; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts can accelerate various reaction.
  5. The specific type of molecules is responsible for the regulation of enzymes. In contrast, none of the regulatory molecules can regulate inorganic catalysts.
  6. Ribosomes present in living cells are responsible for the synthesis of enzymes, on the other hand, living cells have no role in the synthesis of inorganic catalysts.
  7. Enzymes are more sensitive to temperature; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts are less sensitive to temperature.
  8. Enzymes are more sensitive to pH, while inorganic catalysts are less sensitive to pH.
  9. Enzymes carry out their activities at normal pressure; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts tend to work at high pressure.
  10. Enzymes are highly efficient, while inorganic catalysts are less efficient.
  11. Enzymes have a high molecular weight; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts show a very low molecular weight.
  12. A large number of chemicals poisoned the enzymes, which are called protein poisons; on the other hand, inorganic catalysts are not adversely affected by protein poisons.
  13. Enzymes are denatured by shorter wavelength rays, on the other hand, inorganic catalysts are not much influenced by short wave radiation.
  14. They mediate biochemical reactions and originate in the biological world, while inorganic catalysts operate in the physical or non-living world.

Final Thought

All of the above discussion summarizes that enzymes are globular proteins and are synthesized in the living system by ribosomes, while inorganic catalysts are small molecules or mineral ions that are not synthesized by living cells.

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